The workforce is evolving faster than ever before as vast numbers of Baby Boomers retire, only to be replaced by a seemingly endless wave of millennials. With a distinctly younger skewed demographic, however, employers must be comfortable and well acquainted with the particular expectations of a millennial workforce, especially with regards to training and career development.
For that reason, optimizing the employee experience through learning and development initiatives – primarily driven by insightful employee feedback programs – is a critical component to keeping that younger skewed workforce satisfied with their positions, their organizations, and their career trajectories. Of course, an optimal employee experience doesn't just serve millennials but creates a motivated and loyal workforce across all age groups and demographics, lowering costly attrition and maximizing productivity along the way.
Tailor Learning & Development to Your Workforce
Again using millennials as a benchmark, 87% of them place a high value on professional growth in their positions. Somewhat counterintuitively, however, millennials generally dislike one-on-one conversations with their superiors, preferring to provide feedback and opinions through alternative channels. This is an ideal example of the need to tailor employee feedback programs that drive learning and development to the specific preferences found throughout different generations and employee segments.
Without effective feedback, an employer is essentially operating an organization blind with respect to the particular demands and expectations of their employees. Conversely, employers can derive specific benefits from organized and targeted employee development and training programs, including:
- Attract and retain key talent
- Identify and foster promotable employees
- Maintain an engaged, enthusiastic, and motivated workforce
- Reduce costs, maximize growth with lower attrition rates and higher productivity
- Train management to keep an eye on the future
Best Practices in Collecting Feedback on Learning & Development
To gain the most benefit from the feedback systems that drive learning and development programs, an employer must be cognizant of the specific procedures that reveal the most insight. Frequent and consistent surveys and polls to collect data regarding satisfaction levels, especially with millennials, can be especially enlightening.
Despite the unique insights afforded by surveys and polls, however, 79% of today’s organizations send feedback surveys to employees annually or less, and 14% don’t use them at all. Obviously, this is a particular area where many employers can make immediate improvement simply by launching a feedback program with surveys as an integral component or integrating them into existing systems. When constructing those surveys and polls, covered topics should include:
- Opinions on the effectiveness of an organization's training and development programs
- Prevalence and thoroughness of training programs targeting specifically requested skills
- The perceived involvement and genuine interest in career development from management and executive ranks
- A projection of an employee's career path over the short and midterm future, focusing on the role training programs might play in helping to achieve those career goals
Of course, feedback systems can be equally beneficial in providing granular insight into specific policies and procedures. For instance, when gathering feedback in response to learning and development initiatives, evaluations should focus on the following:
- Was training prompt, meet expectations, and delivered to the appropriate audience?
- Were there specific training methods that were most effective with particular topics and audience groups?
- Were there methods used that did not meet expectations?
- Did any specific problems occur?
- Was the trainer effective and engaging while conveying the information?
- Did the training directly impact employee performance, positively or negatively?
- Did the training and topics covered satisfy regulatory, compliance, and legal requirements?
- Were training goals discussed at the beginning of the program? If so, did the training meet those goals?
A common thread to any learning and development programs is the absolute need for authenticity and genuineness. If a workforce senses that an organization is merely going through the motions with their training initiatives, those initiatives will ultimately have a negative impact on the workforce rather than the positive influence the employer intended. A genuine commitment to career development demonstrates an authentic commitment and willingness to invest in employees.
When management effectively conveys that authenticity, a workforce feels more valued and is, therefore, more satisfied with the employee experience and enthusiastic about their role within the organization. Of course, there are tangible benefits to the employer as well, where organizations that invest towards enhancing the employee experience realizing 4x greater profitability than those that don’t. An impactful employee feedback program is an employer's best tool to gather such opinions from its workforce, gauge overall satisfaction, and leverage the insights to maximize productivity and growth.
Hyphen Is an Invaluable Partner
As experts and innovators in employee feedback systems, Hyphen can equip an organization with the critical tools needed to collect, analyze, and convert powerful people data into prescient actionable insight. From AI-based sentiments and trends to driver analysis and heat maps that immediately identify hotspots within survey results, Hyphen's innovative tools give organizations flexible, forward-looking solutions to monitor a dynamic workforce and anticipate any needed change.
Employers that embrace and leverage such beneficial feedback tools can realize the speed, efficiency, and extraordinary convenience in technology-based feedback systems across the full spectrum of employment. If effectively utilized, workforce engagement rises, the employee experience enhanced, and every level of the organization benefits from the insightful results.